Smoke was seen Friday pouring from a chimney on the roof of the Russian consulate in San Fransisco that President Trump ordered closed by Saturday.
The Trump administration on Thursday ordered Russia to close the consulate — and annexes in Washington, D.C., and New York — in retaliation to Moscow ousting hundreds of U.S. diplomatic personnel, which was itself in response to new sanctions against Russia passed after the Kremlin’s 2016 interference in the presidential election.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says U.S. security forces plan to search the building after it is vacated.
The Associated Press reported that local firefighters were turned away by consulate officials when they arrived in response to the smoke.
It was more than 95 degrees in San Fransisco on Friday.
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Russian-held properties were being closed “in the spirit of parity,” but administration officials expressed hope that Moscow and Washington could work toward “better relations.”
The order following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reduction of the number of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia by an estimated 755 people in response to new U.S. sanctions levied against the country for its meddling in last year’s presidential election.
Feature image courtesy of AP.
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